Getting Started Guide – Building Your Own Automations

Lesson 14

In this final lesson (well done, you made it!) we’re going to cover:

  • What are automations and why they are useful
  • How to start building them
  • Top tips to fix problems you may encounter
  • What’s possible when you start building automations

Estimated time for this lesson ~ 45 minutes

This lesson is part of our onboarding program. Find out more about what you’ll learn from the program when you’re getting started.


What are automations

Automations are when you use technology to replace manual labor.

Say when you have lots of repetitive data that you want to use in a few different places – your CRM, your Process Street checklists, your emails or your communication channels. An automation will allow you to create a trigger in one platform that results in an action or result in the other, like pushing the data from one place to another.

Remember all those great features we’ve walked you through in your onboarding so far?

Features like: scheduled checklists, the send email widgetdynamic due dates, role assignments, conditional logic, task permissions, approvals and variables that you built using form fields?

Those are all native automations within Process Street. You’ve learned a lot about adding automations to your processes already! Well done you 🙂

Now it’s time to take your automations to the next level 


Why use automations

Using automation saves you time and money. Not only that, but it also means that you can use the “set it and forget it” mindset to set up your automations and let the software do the work for you. Tasks no longer get forgotten, and as a result, you work smarter and faster, not harder. Your business becomes more efficient and your overhead is reduced. Win, win, and win!

Read our Ultimate Guide to Business Process Automation

Imagine you receive an online order from a new customer.

The order triggers a message to your team communication channel with a checklist run link to a customer onboarding checklist. One of your CS teammates calls the customer and runs the checklist, which uses conditional logic to determine which type of products they require. They then complete the checklist, the order is processed and the data from the checklist gets pushed into your CRM automatically so that your sales team can follow up with an after-sales call. Clever stuff, huh? Remember this example as we’ll come back to it later.

Here are the main benefits of using automation:

Improved efficiency & productivity

Setting up automation acts like a virtual prompt, so you no longer have to remember to do X when Y happens, because it’s been set to run automatically for you. It means that nothing slips through the cracks and you don’t drop any of those proverbial balls. You also save a lot of time, which you can use on other projects or activities.

Reduced errors

Handling processes manually can lead to all kinds of errors, whereas once you start automating them, the likelihood of things getting missed or forgotten is zero.

Reduced costs

With all that precious time you’ve saved by using automation, you’ve cut costs, so your bottom line looks much healthier. You may have a small outlay on additional software, but this will far out-weight the cost of hiring someone to do the work for you. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the case study below…


How to start building automations

First up, you’re going to want to think about what the trigger is for your automation and what you’d like the end result or action to be. Which software or app is going to integrate with which other software or app, and what would you like it to do?

Simple automations

Simple automations might involve just two steps, for example:

  • It’s someone’s birthday. You receive a notification in your calendar
  • The weather forecast predicts rain. You receive a text message reminding you to pack an umbrella
  • A new attachment added to a checklist gets saved automatically in File Cloud
  • A new checklist is created. You receive an email notification
  • A new lead converts in Close.io. A message is sent to your Microsoft Teams channel
  • A new comment in a checklist creates a new story in Asana
  • A new tasked checked on a checklist creates a record in Salesforce

You can set up simple automations like this using Zapier. Think of Zapier as the glue that binds two pieces of software together. If it’s supported by Zapier, it integrates with Process Street :+1:

How Zapier works & how to get started  |  Search for Zapier integrations  |  50 ways to connect Process Street in Zapier  |  Small business automation guide

Advanced automations

Advanced automations build on this simple concept of linking two pieces of software together, allowing you to build much more complex, multi-step or branching automations (see Zapier paths).

Remember the example we told you not to forget above, where you get a new order from a customer which sets off a series of actions and events in other software? This is an example of an advanced automation, with many triggers and actions with lots of different software or apps.

Find more advanced examples in our Advanced Automation Webinar and even more here:

Create a PDF in Zapier  |  Advanced Zapier features for customer success  |  Zapier University – Storage: Setting and Retrieving Values | Use Zapier to find and update checklists  |  Update checklists in bulk with Zapier and Google Sheets

Using Webhooks for advanced automations

Webhooks in Process Street allow you to send information directly to other apps. This feature also allows you to use the “checklist completed” and “task unchecked” triggers, which aren’t available in Zapier.

Read our help article for how to set up webhook integrations and our blog post on How we use Webhooks at Process Street.

Process Street API

Coming soon!


Problem-solving in Zapier

Missing sample data

When you start building zaps, there are a couple reasons Zapier may be unable to pull in a sample or test data from Process Street. Here are some things to look out for:

1) Is your checklist active?

If your checklist has already been completed, Zapier will not be able to pull it in as a sample. You’ll just want to reactivate that checklist or run a new checklist. Then, refresh the page in Zapier and click the ‘Pull in Samples’ button again.

To reactivate your checklist, click on the template and navigate to the Overview tab. Then click on the checklist to open it, and in the right-hand menu, click the green button to “reactivate this checklist.”

2) If you are setting up the zap based on a completed task, is that specific task checked off?

If the task is not completed, Zapier will not be able to pull a sample of the completed task. Be sure to check that task off inside of your checklist in Process Street, and then refresh the page in Zapier and click the ‘Pull in Samples’ button again.


Advanced tips for Zapier

Format date & time

If you’d like to change the way the date and time is displayed, or even take out the time, you can do this by adding a Formatting step into your zap. Select “Formatter by Zapier” as the app, and then “Date/Time” as the action event.

Click continue and in “Transform” choose “Format”. Next, choose the date and time format you want in the “To Format” field.

Use Zapier to catch your Process Street Webhook

This is great if you want to use that “Checklist completed” trigger to notify you when a checklist has been completed from a particular template (or from all templates).

First, go to Zapier and create your first step as “Webhooks by Zapier” and your trigger event as  “Catch hook”.

Click continue, then copy the Custom Webhook URL.

Head to the integrations page in your Process Street organization and click on + New Webhook. Next, select the template and tick the box for “When a checklist is completed”

Finally, go back to your zap and add the second step, which could be to send you an email, to send you a direct message in Slack, or to push that data into a new checklist. The choice is yours!


 

Case Study

One of our customers, A-Team Lending has made their employee onboarding process not only more efficient and paperless by using Process Street, but they’ve also saved an estimated $30,000 in staffing costs by automating their processes. Read their case study for examples of how to collect signatures automatically, as well as how they push data from Process Street into WebMerge via Zapier.

“Traditionally, forms are very repetitive. Since the same data — employee name, social security number, address — needs to be used on several different forms, you can avoid repeating yourself by running all documents from the same checklist. This gets all our onboarding forms done in one go, making them easy to deliver and track”


 

Helpful resources

Blog:

Videos:

Knowledge Base:

  • Browse all of our help documents on setting up Integrations

Congratulations!!!

You’ve made it to the end of our onboarding program! You’ve learned a lot, so give yourself a well-earned pat on the back, take a break, grab a cup of tea, have a little dance…!

 

Now that you’ve graduated from the Process Street academy (your certificate’s in the post 😉 ) feel free to wander through our Knowledge Base, our YouTube channel and our Blog to get even more inspiration on how to power up your processes.

Don’t forget to share our Getting Started Guide with your colleagues… Sharing is caring!

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